Tuchel struggles to explain Chelsea’s lack of mental sharpness at Juventus

Tuchel struggles to explain Chelsea’s lack of mental sharpness at Juventus

Thomas Tuchel said Chelsea lacked mental sharpness after the European champions slumped to a flat defeat against Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Chelsea produced a lethargic display against their main rivals in Group H, allowing Federico Chiesa to score the winner 11 seconds into the second half, and never looked likely to bounce back from defeat against Manchester City last weekend. They created little and Tuchel, who made five substitutions in the second half, was critical of his side’s focus after their second successive defeat.

“I think we started not sharp enough,” the manager said. “We had possession. But I think the first 12 or 15 minutes we could have harmed them much more. We could have been much sharper and put the rhythm higher. We had two crucial ball losses where we almost gave goals away. You cannot have this on this kind of level. It was without any pressure. We struggled to create our own rhythm and intensity because they were so deep and passive.

“We were so good in training yesterday and not good enough, not free enough today. I don’t know why. It was a thing for the whole team. I felt we were a bit slow and tired, mentally slow for decision making. It’s a strange one to analyse.”

Chelsea, who have mustered one shot on target in their past two games, were caught cold by Chiesa shortly after the restart. “It is impossible on this kind of level to concede an easy goal like this in the first seconds of the second half when you know what’s coming,” Tuchel said. “We got punished for it.”

The result leaves Chelsea second in the group, three points below Juventus. They are above Zenit St Petersburg, who thrashed Malmö 4-0 in the night’s other game, thanks to a superior head-to-head record over the Russian side.